Pak Human Rights commission dysfunctional over 3 months

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan (Photo by AFP)

Pakistan's National Commission for Human Rights has been dysfunctional for over three months due to the completion of tenures of its top functionaries, even as the country accuses India of human rights violations in Kashmir.

The four-year tenure of the chairman and six of the seven members of the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) expired on May 30, the Dawn newspaper said in a report.

As an impartial state body, the NCHR works independently of the government and is directly accountable to Parliament.

The employees of the commission fear that it may not be made functional due to sour relations between the Prime Minister Imran Khan and leader of the opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, who have to pick the names through consensus, it said.

However, Director General Ministry of Human Rights Mohammad Arshad told the daily that the posts of chairman and members would be re-advertised soon, adding that it may take six to seven months to complete the entire process of appointments.

The four-year tenure of the commission expired and as per directions of the government the posts of chairman and seven members were to be re-advertised, Arshad said.

Asked about the process, he said after verifying the applicants the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition in National Assembly would have to reach a consensus and finalise three names for the post of chairman and three for each post of members.

The names would be forwarded to a parliamentary committee for finalisation, the report said.

"If they fail to develop consensus both the Prime Minister and the Opposition leader would send three names, on their own, for each post and the names would be discussed by the parliamentary committee. The committee would finalise the names for the chair and members but past experience shows that it may take six to seven months," Arshad said.

Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan.

Several Pakistani leaders have accused India of committing human rights violations in Kashmir.

India has rejected such claims. India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its internal matter and has strongly criticised Pakistan for making "irresponsible statements" and provocative anti-India rhetoric over issue.

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